3T RPD Baton
The Glasgow 2014 Commowealth Games are exactly two months away and the iconic latticework baton is nearing Belfast on the final leg of its global tour.
This epic journey has wrapped around the Southern Hemisphere of the planet and spiralled its way back home, but how many of those who handle the intricate metal and wood design realise the unusual shape of the iconic ornament - although the creation of 4c Design - was made in part using 3D printing?
Of course TCT Magazine was among the first to report that our friends at 3T RPD had played a pivotal role in bringing this outstanding piece of design to life using direct metal laser sintering, and the BBC has also reported on the science behind this additive manufacturing technique, further raising the profile of the technology.
In a short documentary detailing the journey of the baton, from idea to production. The piece includes how the latticework design echoes both the cranes that reach up and criss-cross along the skyline of the city's shipyards, and the weaving, black-outlines synonymous with the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In a nod to the former, the lower wooden part of the baton was hewn by boat building craftsmen at the Galgael Trust, while the metalwork was entrusted to 3T RPD.
The DMLS process was completed over 30 hours, building the baton from a bed of titanium powder. The finished item was made by additive manufacturing more than 4,000 layers.
4c Design's Design Director Will Mitchell explained that the process was scariest when the CAD files had been received by 3T RPD, who then said they would build the baton over the weekend resulting in two days of radio silence. Nevertheless, the print job was completed to Mitchell and the team's exacting standards, topped with a granite gem hewn by Scotland's Kay's curling stone manufacturer and embellished with a coin made at Glasgow School of Art.
"We have achieved something that's truly great and I love it. I really love it," said Mitchell.
You can view the BBC's footage of the making of the baton online.